Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Some interesting comments to recent posts here on the Met's new line of tech-heavy spinoffs, about which Sieglinde also has a yes-and-no post (with which I basically agree).

First, one commenter asks:
That these broadcasts will be transmitted through cameras is probably enough to differentiate the movie house version from the live event. In the movie house, you see only what the camera shows you. At the event, you choose what to look at, in an unlimited field of vision. Given that, if someone "comes to opera" from watching it in the theatre, will they have unrealistic expectations? And will the actual event meet these expectations, or be the source of disappointment. I wonder.
Will these movie theatre transmissions resemble the PBS telecasts, or will the cinematography be different? Some of the cinematography on the PBS telecasts left quite a bit to be desired (e.g., too much focus on singers tongues--I don't think that will go over too well in a movie theatre), although it did improve at times.
It would be interesting if someone besides Jay David Saks were to direct the movie versions, though I it'll be him. Whether said director will adapt to the larger screen... Good question. Using more long shots might actually make it less starkly "not live", though as you suggest the close-up may be the main value-added element of camera mediation.

I'm nore worried about moviegoers not realizing what they're missing, though, than their possibly being disappointed on seeing the live thing.

Another commenter opiones on the initial satellite/internet broadcast:
If it's to be this way, I'm hoping Sirius will get its webcasting act together. Opening Night was a wash-out for many who couldn't log on due to their technical difficulties. Also, despite their claim to webcast at the halfway decent 150kbps, currently it sounds more like 35. New adventures in distortion. ffrr it ain't.
Ahh, now that's the technical data I'd been waiting for. I think we've now covered all the venues of the opening.

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While I'm at it, I wanted to redress my neglect in thanking those who've left their own impressions of performances in comments here over the years. Some, such as this one, are not only honest and urgent but at least as thought-out as the posts to which they're attached. But I do appreciate them all,* even the quick notes.

*Trolls not included, but you knew that.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm more worried about moviegoers not realizing what they're missing, though, than their possibly being disappointed on seeing the live thing."

    Actually I don't really worry too much about this. If they don't go, they'll never realize what they're missing, and they may be perfectly content with that. And that's okay; as long as it works for them. It's not really much different from the people who are content with radio broadcasts. Opera takes effort. If they want to make the effort, they'll go (accessability be *&%$#@). And as I said, if they don't, that's okay too.

    I suspect that the impact (if these movie casts actually have an impact and stay around long enough) will be somewhat like that of televised sports, albeit on a much smaller scale. One might be happy enough to see it through the camera, but it's not a substitute for being at the performance/game.

    On the other hand, the long-term effect on quality and expectations (both musical and production) remains to be seen. As has been noted elsewhere, some opera/opera productions/opera phenomenons are clunkers. Too much media exposure may elevate/expose these clunkers and lower overall standards and expectatons. We've certainly been down that road before.

    But I suppose, if those who drift away from the art rediscover why they love it, or a few people on the margins discover that "hey, this is really good; I want more" and make the effort, the media push will have been worth it.



Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.